I’m looking for folks that like to be outside. Good people with commitment and honesty and hard work in their blood. They don’t need to hate offices or love felling trees. They do need a certain amount of mental toughness; the fire to work even when the rain and wind is beating against their equipment. Because when the storm knocks the power out, Woodson (my team, me) is ready to jump.
We learned a lot in 2020. When life gives you maples you make maple syrup. We’re going to take that which we learned and make our team better.
First, A Bit of History
I started Woodson Incorporated in 1980 with a planter, a handful of guys, and the flu. It was the week after Christmas and it had been raining for a solid month. It was cold. We worked 11 days straight through the rain and the night with the headlights of the tractor and planter. We rebounded pretty well from many, many rained-out days which delayed our work. I made a lot of proverbial maple syrup that muddy winter. I walked out of those woods with a deep-seated mental and physical toughness. I see that same toughness in the leaders of my company.
In the 1980’s the kind of person it took to spend 11 days in the woods with nothing but your rubber boots and coveralls to keep the rain out of your bones wasn’t easy to find. We worked longer hours, drove rough-riding pickups. We had no A/C, nor heated cabs, we listened to Rock ‘n Roll, and we set out every morning before the sun to wage man’s tireless war against the perils of nature. I’m accustomed to and love that life. As the world shrinks and my team grows, I find myself contemplating the exceptional qualities of a new era.
Operating Heavy Equipment in 2020
The efficiencies of increased safety and cutting-edge machinery stands stark in my mind. This includes but is certainly not limited to A/Cs and heating (including seats!) in tractors and XM radio. Being in the woods is becoming safer, faster, and way more enjoyable by the year. That’s not to say things are easier; we certainly maintain a level of mental toughness required to fight the weather, and, at times, the long hours. The desire to earn a living outdoors comes with an appreciation of nature, and a healthy respect for the freezing cold and the 100-degree heat. Things just have to be done with a great deal more thought and consideration.
A Few Good People
Folks that meet me think I’m extroverted, and I have over the years looked at them with a great deal of amusement. I’m only an extrovert to communicate. I think offices are too small (even the big ones). I find them to be busy, unpredictable. In the woods I appreciate my environment; I know what to expect. Every meticulous detail is planned to perfection with the safety of my team and client in mind. The heavy equipment operator on my team is stoic, not easily intimidated by man nor machine, and is as innovative as they are flexible. The forester to my side has a family to go home to, and we’re going to make sure they get home in time for supper. We look after each other because in the woods or the office, we’re family, comrades in arms, only as strong as the junior forester and getting stronger by the storm.
I’ll say it again. I’m looking for good people with commitment and honesty and hard work in their blood. They don’t need to hate offices or love felling trees. They don’t need to love Rock ‘n Roll (but it don’t hurt). They need to be steadfast in the storm.